TRAVEL AND FAMILY SEARCH TESTIMONIES
Dear friends at Heart of Italy Tours,
This is just a note to
tell you how much I enjoyed the October food and wine tour. The visits were excellent, very interesting locations and well
planned, and you and your associates did a very good job of describing the locations and the history.
tour group was not too large, allowing an opportunity to get to know all the travelers. The food and wine we enjoyed was traditional
and certainly among the best in Abruzzo. This was my second tour and I had such a good time that may join you again for one
of the 2005 tours.
Clifton Park, NY, U.S.A.
Dear Heart of Italy Tours,
For my first time going someplace out of the USA I could not have picked a better
tour or group to be with. The food was great, the wine was excellent, and the people were... family. It was a family reunion
that was put off for far too long.
You could not have done more to help me find genealogy
records and unknown family still living in the village of my mother and our ancestors. I will be showing the more than 400
pictures I took to family and friends. We'll see who wants to join me on my next journey to Abruzzo.
I once read
that the difference between a 'vacation' and 'travel' is that when on vacation, we expect to be comfortable
and pampered, while when traveling, we don't mind putting up with inconveniences in our quest for new discoveries. Happily,
the recent October Food and Wine tour truly combined the best of both experiences: a small group tour with such personal attention
to every detail, along with numerous opportunities to explore the breathtakingly beautiful landscapes of Abruzzo, Italy's
Those who seek this type of tour are not only on vacation or traveling,
they are also on a journey to reconnect with their heritage. And while Theresa and I are probably not your typical customers
- having been born in Abruzzo and having emigrated as children, we know our roots are firmly planted in Abruzzo soil - we
were both searching as well: for the village where we were born while there was still someone left there who would remember
us; for the Abruzzo we've heard about in our parents' stories before it becomes homogenized and Americanized beyond
recognition; for a chance to hear the Abruzzese dialect spoken before it disappears completely. We were not disappointed --
this trip highly exceeded our expectations.
Theresa and I enjoyed ourselves immensely,
from our first visit to the mercato in L'Aquila's Piazza Maggiore, to our final evening passeggiata along the Corso.
Everything in between was absolutely 'indimenticabile'. The beautifully appointed Hotel San Michele was centrally
located, with a courteous and helpful staff -- even the morning caffè latte was served with a smile! The mini-bus drives
to our various destinations were filled with laughter and singing, and the stunning mountain scenery of the Maiella and the
Gran Sasso. We visited an incredible variety of places: medieval villages clinging to their mountain perches, agriturismo
centers showcasing the outstanding locally produced cheeses, wines and olive oils, religious sanctuaries, the beach at Pescara,
the canyons of Atri. 'Abruzzo day' in Assisi during the feast of St. Francis, and the Cooks' Festival in Villa
Santa Maria were extra-special treats. And the meals! It was like sitting down to a "festa" dinner every day. The
entire tour was truly a feast for the senses as well as the soul.
Most of its success
was due, of course, to your passion for showing tourists this little-known region of Italy, and at the same time offering
them the concrete means for rediscovering their ancestry through your expert genealogy research service. What a tremendous
experience for anyone interested in seeing an unspoiled region of Italy away from the traditional tourist routes. We would
recommend your tours to anyone whether they are of Abruzzese descent or not. We can't wait to return for the 'reunion'
Con tanti cari saluti a tutti,
Amy Linn & Theresa Benedek "le sorelle"
Email Amy! Email Theresa!
Ciao Abruzzo World Club,
Congratulations on a successful Abruzzo Food
and Wine Tour. Jane and I want to thank you and the team for the wonderful experience that we had in touring Abruzzo and sampling
the food and wine of the region. Your selection of places to visit and choice of restaurants provided us with a once-in-a-lifetime
experience. We had heard that Abruzzo was beautiful and now we know that this is true - from the mountains of the Gran Sasso
and the Majella to the Adriatic Sea and all of the valleys and villages in between.
opportunity for us to visit my family's ancestral village of Pescocostanzo was the highlight of the tour. To walk the
same streets as my father, uncles, aunts, and grandparents and to attend Mass in their church was a lifetime thrill.
The kind considerations and courtesies extended to us by you and your staff members made the tours comfortable and enjoyable.
Your plan to stay in one hotel and take day trips relieved us of the chores of unpacking and repacking when changing hotels.
We learned that there is more to Italy than Rome, Florence, Venice, the Amalfi Coast, etc.
A tour of Abruzzo is rewarding, especially for those with Abruzzese heritage.
We are already
talking about our next visit.
Norbert and Jane DiGiacomo
Aberdeen, Maryland U.S.A.
Thank you for a wonderful
trip. We loved our tour of Abruzzo. San Gabriele is a beautiful area, the Gran Sasso is breath taking. The small town of Pescocostanzo
is magnificient. L'Aquila with its Basilica of San Bernardino and the Church Santa Maria Collemaggio and its fortress
and fountains is a wonderful place to stay and visit. The food was something special. We want to thank you for making it all
Charles & Eleanor Porrini
West Chester, Pa,
"We had a wonderful
experience last year traveling in Abruzzo. Thanks to the professional
staff of Abruzzo World Club, we were able to find the town where our family came from, were able to do further genealogy research
while visiting there and explored many other interesting and beautiful spots in Abruzzo. Our tour guide was adept at planning
an excellent itinerary customized to our particular interests which was well organized and easily accomplished making the
total experience more than we had hoped for. We are returning this year with family members to share our discoveries. We highly
recommend this group as well as the region of Abruzzo".
Sandy and Stephen Freeman
"After much wavering I decided to go on the Abruzzo World Club tour for two weeks this summer. I
feel so lucky that I did. My intent was to walk in the footsteps and pathways of my grandparents. I wanted to see the land
that they talked about and I wanted to see for myself what they dearly missed. How could anyplace be that wonderful? Well,
it is just that wonderful. I have been to Italy and Europe many times, but this two week immersion in the Abruzzo region,
it's culture, history and beautiful mountainous landscape exceeded all of my expectations. Abruzzo took my breath away.
We touched many villages and towns in the Pescara, Chieti, L"Aquila, Teramo provinces
of Abruzzo. Everyplace we visited we were made to feel special and so very welcome by guides and dignitaries alike. We had
great experiences in museums, churches, castles and clouds. Yes,.... clouds...... as sometimes we went to the very top of
a mountain to get to a medieval walled town. We had lectures and were given information on each and every place we visited.
Every detail was meticulously taken care of. We had wonderful lunches in quaint places. We had the great hotel Duca degli
Abruzzi to come home to with exceptional regional dinners, most evenings, in it's rooftop (just like a movie set) restaurant.
This tour with it's well thought out plunge into our Abruzzo was put together by members
of the Abruzzo World Club. I am very sure that we met every member including the newest baby. Everybody pitched in. Even good
friends, who came to entertain us with music. The warmth, caring and sincere friendship of this family saw to our comfort
and well-being every inch of the way.
Genealogy was part of the intent of many tour members
and they were helped to find the villages of relatives with the help of the Badias. Subsequently many family names were put
into place. There were also many face to face reunions. This part of the trip was a big success. I can't say enough about
this tour. I would do it again in a minute. In fact, if they are still going....... next Christmas.............. I may give
myself another gift".
Customer Tour Reflections
“This was certainly
a trip of a life time. We left home on October 23 not knowing what we would find in Abruzzo, Italy. We
were curious about the country our grandparents and my mother came from. Never did we expect to meet the family that my grandparents
left behind in the early 1900's. I knew there were no Caramanicos left in the Abruzzo area but I didn't realize our
grandmother (Marcello) had so many nieces and nephews left in the area. Thank you for finding them and contacting them with
our (custom) itinerary... I don't know of many tour companies that would be as flexible as TOUR ABRUZZO.
You planned a trip for us that we will never forget... The restaurant selection was superb. We ate in out of the way country
restaurants where the owners were the chefs. The food was outstanding. Each restaurant was located in a wonderful little town
built on a hillside. Each town had its share of churches and shops and forts or castles. Each had a history that went back
hundreds, if not thousands, of years... The hotels were great. They were beautiful, clean, comfortable and in the center
of activity. In Pescara, we were on the beach. In L’Aquila, we were in the heart of town. We were within walking distance
to everything at each hotel...
My cousins and I would like to thank every one who had a part in our tour of Abruzzo. It is a trip that
left us with memories we will cherish forever. Thank you for the family research and for putting us in touch with our Italian
Tina and Tony Filippini
Michael and Debbie Caramenico
REFLECTIONS FROM OUR FAMILY SEARCHERS